The mandibular condyle is the rounded protuberance that articulates with the mandibular fossa to form the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The shape of the mandibular condyle may be classified according to five basic shapes viz. flattened, convex, angled, rounded and concave. Previous research indicated that variation in the shape and size of the mandibular condyle, exists and that population-specific differences may also occur. This study aimed to document the shapes and size of the mandibular condyle and determine their relationship with regard to sex, age and race (if any). The morphometric and morphological parameters of the mandibular condyle were measured and assessed in 54 dry mandible specimens (n= 108). The Wedel et al. (1978) classification scheme was adopted in order to document the morphology of the mandibular condyle, utilizing three different aspects. Each of the morphometric and morphological parameters was statistically analyzed using SPSS, to determine if a relationship existed between the afore-mentioned parameters and sex, age and race in each specimen. In the anterior view, the most prevalent shape of the mandibular condyle was the plane/slightly convex shape (62.0 %), while the round/oval shape was most prevalent in the superior view (56.5 %), with the plane/slightly convex shape being most prevalent in the lateral view (69.4 %). All morphometric parameters of the mandibular condyle were greater in male than females, which correlated with previous studies. When both sides were compared, statistically significant different relationships were recorded only between: i) sex and the right mandibular condyle in the superior and lateral views; ii) between age and the right mandibular condyle in the superior view. In addition, all morphometric and morphological parameters recorded in this study displayed a statistically significant relationship with race. Knowledge of the anatomy of the mandibular condyle may aid in clinical and surgical procedures, viz. TMJ disorders and mandibular condyle fractures, as well as in the design of population-specific condylar prostheses.
KEY WORDS: Mandibular condyle; Mandibles; Osteology; Morphometry; Morphology.